Melanie Perkins

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Melanie Perkins
M Perkins.jpg
Melanie Joy Perkins

Perth, Australia[1]
EducationUniversity of Western Australia
OccupationTechnology entrepreneur
Years active2007 - present
Known forCo-founding and leading Canva
Board member ofCanva

Melanie Perkins is an Australian technology entrepreneur. She is known as the CEO and co-founder of Canva, an online graphic design and publishing tool.[3][4]

Melanie is one of the youngest female CEOs to be leading a tech startup valued at over a billion dollars.[5] Melanie has raised more than $166 million from investors including Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen, Yahoo! CFO Ken Goldman, and funds such as Bond, General Catalyst, Felicis Ventures and Blackbird.[6][7]

Early life[edit]

Melanie was born in Perth, Australia. She attended Sacred Heart College,[8] and started her first venture when she was 14, creating hand-made scarves that she sold at shops and markets throughout Perth.[9]


Fusion Books
Melanie has studied Communications, Psychology, and Commerce at the University of Western Australia when she decided to drop out to build Fusion Books, her first company, a design tool for school yearbooks, to test out the idea for Canva.[10]

While in university at the age of 19, Melanie had also been teaching design programs to fellow students. After seeing students struggle, she created Fusion Books, which took the idea of empowering students to design their own school yearbooks by using a simple drag-and-drop tool equipped with a library of design templates that could be populated with photos, illustrations, and fonts. Over five years, Fusion Books grew into the largest yearbook company in Australia and expanded into France and New Zealand.[11][12][13]

Having known all along that the technology Melanie had developed with Fusion Books could be applied more broadly, she set out to build Canva with co-founders Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams.[14]
As CEO, Melanie is leading a team over 650 across three offices in Sydney, Manila, and Beijing.[15]


  1. ^ "The 30-year-old woman who designed a $1bn business". BBC. 10 January 2018.
  2. ^ "'Nothing is off the cards': Canva has designs on Nasdaq listing". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Can't think of any female leaders in tech? It's not because they don't exist | Jo Burston". The Guardian. 18 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Canva started with a great idea and no funding only a few years ago". 8 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Four Remarkably Simple Pitch Tips From An Entrepreneur Who Turned Her Idea Into A $2.5B 'Unicorn'". Forbes.
  6. ^ "How Melanie Perkins disrupted digital design". Entrepreneur.
  7. ^ "Canva Raises $3 Million To Make Design Accessible To Everyone". TechCrunch.
  8. ^ "How a Sacred Heart girl built a $1b tech empire". The West Australian. 7 May 2018.
  9. ^ Connelly, Claire (6 October 2015). "From making scarves to building a $165 million tech start-up: Canva's Melanie Perkins". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  10. ^ "Get the Most from Word-of-Mouth Advertising".
  11. ^ Singh, Pooja (8 March 2019). "How this 30-year-old College Dropout Created a Tech Unicorn in Australia". Entrepreneur.
  12. ^ Perkins, Melanie (29 May 2014). "3 Keys to Providing Great Customer Service". Entrepreneur (magazine).
  13. ^ Weinberger, Matt. "This 29-year-old startup founder learned to kiteboard to impress investors — and it paid off big time". Business Insider.
  14. ^ Zipkin, Nina (12 June 2019). "She Was Told 'No' 100 Times. Now This 31-Year-Old Female Founder Runs a $1 Billion Business". Entrepreneur.
  15. ^ "AFR business people of the year 2018: Canva's Melanie Perkins". The Australian Financial Review. 13 December 2018.